Do I need a notary to sell my car?


Selling or buying a car or other motor vehicle can be a complicated process as extensive paperwork is involved. You need many documents for this transaction, such as a title certificate. You may wonder, “Do I need a notary to sell my car?” If you plan on selling or buying a motor vehicle through a private sale, both the buyer and seller may have to sign the title in front of a notary public before exchanging it.

If you would like to sell your motor vehicle or car directly to another private party, you will need some specific legal documents and paperwork to satisfy prospective buyers. The first and most important thing you have to know about legal paperwork for selling your car or SUV is that the legal requirements vary considerably from one state to another. So, whenever in doubt, you should check your state’s DMV site. 

You may know that negotiating a sale privately may help you get better value from the financial transaction. However, with the potential for excellent deals and top dollar comes more responsibility—you have to ensure that you meet the legal and regulatory requirements for each step of the selling process. And this includes notarizing the vehicle title as per your state requirements. It is crucial to have properly prepared and notarized documents to make the process seamless.

Do I need a notary to sell my car?

If you want to sell a car, you will likely need a notarized bill of sale in order to prove car ownership has changed hands. It is worth noting that laws vary from state to state. For instance, many US states require a bill of sale before you can register your new vehicle.

On the other hand, some states require that a bill of sale be officially notarized. You should know that notarizing a bill of sale or other documents, such as a certificate of title or title transfer document, is often a good idea. Note that having a state official or notary public witness the signing of your vehicle’s ownership can legitimize the transaction, especially when selling an automobile without a title. Learn how to notarize a document.

Notarize a bill of sale online today

Connect with a state-commissioned online notary within minutes

Start free 14-day trial
Banner Rich Pricing Abstract

Again, remember that regulations and laws vary from state to state. So, make sure you know and understand which laws and rules apply to you. A notary ensures you are the actual person signing the legal document and also certifies that on the document.

What paperwork do I need to sell my car?

You need several documents to sell a car and transfer ownership. So, do not forget to bring the car title and your ID with you. You may have to bring other documents, such as a vehicle history report, transferable warranty, a notarized bill of sale, and maintenance records, depending on your state.

In some US states, you may not be required to notarize your car sale at all. In contrast, others will require that you have several documents on hand in order to notarize your car sale.


Your car’s title is essential as it signifies ownership. Keep in mind that there are several protocols for switching a vehicle title over to a potential buyer. Although retitling varies from one state to another, you will likely have to sign the car title as a private seller. You will also have to disclose your vehicle’s odometer reading and car’s mileage.  A standard odometer disclosure statement includes the car’s make, model, year, and VIN.

Maintenance records

When shopping for a motor vehicle, potential buyers want to know the car was taken care of. So, it is a great idea to gather all of the maintenance and service records. Note that whether it is a transmission replacement, a tune-up, a tire replacement, or simply a routine oil change, it is vital to present this documentation to your potential buyer.

Doing this is essential and will give them peace of mind, as they will know that the car was maintained correctly. You will be happy to know that some dealers provide maintenance records for free.

Bill of sale 

While a bill of sale might not be legally required in your state as one of the documents needed to sell a car, it is still a good idea to provide one. This is because it documents all the terms and conditions of the sale and contains information, such as details of license plates.

Owner’s manual

Although you will not legally have to offer the owner’s manual to a potential buyer, they may want it.

Warranty documents

If your vehicle has a transferrable warranty, you should have that paperwork on hand when selling your car. In fact, your warranty documents could add value to your car sale. 

What is a bill of sale?

We can define an automobile bill of sale as a simple legal contract for the transfer or sale of a motor vehicle between a seller and a buyer. It documents the relevant details of the transaction, serving as a receipt for the buyer’s purchase.

You can visit many websites where you can easily download a bill of sale sample form. You will even find templates where you just fill in the blanks. However, the best place to get an official bill of sale form is your state’s DMV.

The terms and conditions of the sale include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Odometer disclosure
  • Vehicle description
  • Purchase price
  • Signatures of the seller, buyer, and notary public
  • Delivery date

The bill of sale will legally ensure and document that you release liability and that the potential buyer takes full responsibility for the vehicle’s condition, including its odometer reading. 

The following states require that a notary public stamp should be present on a bill of sale:

Does your car title need to be notarized?

Depending on your state and city of residence, you may need the services of a notary public when selling a vehicle or car. The car title is one of the most crucial documents you will sign when selling a car. Many people choose to have the car title notarized even if state laws and regulations do not mandate it. The title to your vehicle is a legal document demonstrating that you are the rightful and legal owner of your vehicle.

In several US states, title transfer of a car usually doesn’t require the services of a notary. The car owner signs a form that transfers ownership to a new individual. On the other hand, some states require that vehicle titles be notarized to be legally binding and valid. Therefore, before concluding the sale, it is essential to inquire with your local DMV regarding the applicable laws, rules, and requirements since they vary considerably by state.

You may want to have the car title transfer notarized regardless of state laws and rules. This is because notarization proves your surrender of a motor vehicle. Notarization ensures that the buyer and seller have been adequately identified, have signed the car title voluntarily, and are fully aware of its contents. 

Montana, Oklahoma, Arizona, Louisiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina are the only US states where a title has to be notarized publicly before a sale. So, notaries public are required by law in these states.

Notarize documents with PandaDoc Notary

If you are selling your car, remember that the paperwork for selling a car and other requirements vary vastly from one state to another. You will likely need a notary public to notarize several documents. You should have a notarized bill of sale and title.

When you need quick and secure notarization of any legal document or contract, such as a bill of sale or car title, use PandaDoc Notary. It’s the simplest and most affordable way to get your title transfer and other documents signed. Notarize your car title and other documents, such as a promissory note, with PandaDoc, and enjoy peace of mind! 


Does a bill of sale have to be notarized in TN?

No. While specific bills of sale in Tennessee must be notarized, a vehicle bill of sale for a private vehicle transfer doesn’t have to be notarized.

Does a bill of sale have to be notarized in Alabama?

In Alabama, it isn’t necessary to notarize a bill of sale. However, some counties may request that you do so. And bills of sale are always needed to register vessels in Alabama. 

Does a Florida bill of sale need to be notarized?

While having the bill of sale form notarized is not required in Florida, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department recommends that you notarize bills of sale for vehicles.

Does a car title have to be notarized in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, a car title must be notarized. If the title document is not notarized, you might void your title. Also, you’ll need to complete an application for a duplicate title.